The Aeros and BSens both held full practices this morning and I got to see inside the very cozy Broome County Veterans' Memorial Arena for the first time.
It's a peach. I'm not sure you could have a more opposite building from the humid, sterile expanse that is the Toyota Center. It's like a meat locker, small, old, full of character and grime. I mean that as pure compliment.
The ice is hard and fast. And the ice sheet is small. The neutral zone is a postage stamp, the corners are shallow. It's a tight, tight sheet, but the Aeros think it benefits their style of game.
"I think we play a type of game that, number one, we create a lot of turnovers, and turnovers are a big part of playing on small ice," said Yeo. "I think that our speed is more of a factor on a small ice surface, and I think that with the physicality that we bring and as far as we want to get on their D as quick as possible, I think it’s 2-3 less strides to get there."
DiSalvatore agreed, also saying the guys are excited about the speed of the game on such hard ice.
"We’re just going to manage what we know, as far as where we’ve got to be smart with the puck and where our trouble zones are and how to avoid those," said DiSalvatore. "Ultimately, I think that the smaller surface is going to work to our favor, allowing us to get on loose pucks quicker."
The other theme from this building is how on top of the ice the fans are. And they use it to their advantage. Heck, they even booed Lehner and chanted "BAR-RY BAR-RY" at one point in the season when he was being played (and struggling a bit) instead of Brusty. So you KNOW they'll get after somebody else's goalie.
Yeo admits it's a challenge, but one the team can get excited about.
"If you don’t get excited about playing games like this, then you’re in the wrong sport, you’re in the wrong business," Yeo said. "We have a lot of guys that have played in the building for one thing and I, myself, have coached a number of games, coached in here in the playoffs as well, so we know very well what to expect."
"I think that certainly the crowd is going to be great here. They’re going to be getting on us and we’ve seen that in Milwaukee, getting on our goalie (Hackett). And he seemed to really rise to that challenge and enjoy that and feed off of it."
DiSalvatore had my favorite quote about it though:
"We’ve heard stuff about their fans, but we’re not really too worried about it. They going to be there to support their team and do whatever they can to lift them up and bring us down. So, it’s part of the game and I’m sure it’s going to be very loud, and it’s going to be a ruckus, but we’re here to quiet that."
Gotta say, Jonny D kinda always has this twinkle in his eyes and when he says badass, confident stuff like that, I tend to want to believe him. I'm such a girl sometimes.
Tomorrow night is going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait to share it with you guys.
With Lehtonen down, Tim Thomas time in Texas
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